Heart attack: The symptom relating to exercise often overlooked – what to spot?

What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?

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For some people, symptoms can occur months or even longer before a heart attack occurs. Further stressing the pertinence of recognising the early symptoms, it could be a matter of life or death.

Atypical symptoms often experienced by women too include:

  • Fatigue
  • A general sense of unease
  • Vague discomfort
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Declining stamina.

Decreased stamina is when a person’s ability to continue with exercise until exhausted is reduced in comparison to their normal ability.

Some people will suffer with a decrease in stamina following or preceding an underlying respiratory cardiac (heart) problems.

Declining or decreased stamina is a lesser-known early warning symptom of a heart attack.

It’s important not to ignore symptoms and wait until they become severe.

If you have a concern, talk to your doctor. If heart disease is caught early, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of further problems.

Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, get regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight, drink alcohol in moderation and don’t smoke.

If you believe that you have symptoms, seek immediate medical help.

“It’s important you get medical attention immediately. Don’t worry about wasting paramedics’ time – a heart attack is a medical emergency,” says the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The charity outlines four steps that you should take. These include:

  • Call 999 for an ambulance
  • Sit down and stay calm
  • Take a 300mg aspirin if you have one within reach
  • Wait for the paramedics.

Why do heart attacks occur?

The vast majority of heart attacks occur because of a blockage in one of the blood vessels that supply your heart.

This most often happens because of plaque, a sticky substance that can build up on the insides of your arteries.

Sometimes, plaque deposits inside the coronary (heart) arteries can break open or rupture, and a blood clot can get stuck where the rupture happened.

If the clot blocks the artery, this can deprive the heart muscle of blood and cause a heart attack.

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